Heather S. Cole is the recipient of the Barbara L. Tate Scholarship. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Alabama in December 2013 and a Master of Science in Nursing degree at the University of North Alabama in December 2019. With a desire to conduct research in clinical simulation, she began the Joint Ph.D. in Nursing Science Program at the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama in Huntsville in May of 2020.
She was inspired to become a nurse by her late grandmother, who suffered from multiple chronic conditions and required frequent hospitalizations. The care and advocacy nurses provided for her grandmother fostered her love of the nursing profession and her desire to pursue nursing as a career. She also contributes her passion for nursing to time spent with the family of a childhood friend. This family showed an outpouring of love and investment in her future at a young age and fueled her aspirations to become a healthcare provider. These experiences led her to clinical experience in medical-surgical, critical care, wound and ostomy care, and geriatric long-term acute care.
In January 2020, she transitioned to academia as the Capstone College of Nursing simulation coordinator. As the simulation coordinator, she organizes simulation experiences for undergraduate and graduate nursing programs at the University of Alabama. She currently designs, supports, and facilitates simulation experiences across both programs. She has experience teaching in Concepts of Nursing Practice, Fundamentals of Nursing Practice, and Adult Health Nursing.
She is dedicated to her community and university by serving as a leader in multiple committees and professional organizations. She served as the secretary for the Epsilon Omega Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International and was recently elected as president-elect for the upcoming term. She is a member of the Graduate Nursing Student Association (GNSA) Digital Innovators Program, in which she has committed to enhancing student learning through technology. She serves as the co-chair for the CCN Gratitude Ambassadors and the Undergraduate Peer Mentoring Advisory Council. To provide professional development for other faculty interested in simulation, she and a colleague developed the Capstone SimCast. This podcast offers guidance and information related to the Healthcare Simulation Standards of Best Practice provided by the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL). She also fosters her passion for the arts by serving as the travel nurse for the University of Alabama Million Dollar Band.
Heather desires to ensure that nursing students receive the highest quality of simulation possible through providing opportunities for faculty development and providing consistency through competency-based evaluations. Her research trajectory is led by the call for a competency-based curriculum across all nursing programs with a focus on the concept of using simulation-based learning experiences to evaluate competency-based curricula. This scholarship allows her to achieve her goals as a novice nurse scientist. She is incredibly grateful to bloom where planted, with the potential to impact the nursing profession at the local, regional, and national levels.
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